An Alright Day in Thailand

By Alexis

Okay, so the week didn’t get off to a great start. Thailand isn’t always my favorite place to be. It’s got its good qualities obviously, but I admit that I spend a good majority of my time fantasizing about the next place we’ll move to…

But today wasn’t bad.

I taught my adorable little first graders today and even though they’re one of my craziest classes, I (secretly) love them the most because they were my original babies, the ones I taught for two months while their normal teacher was on maternity leave. They tend to get really out of hand when I teach because, well, they know they can take advantage of me. There’s not much I can do once they’ve realized just how much power 32 screaming six-year-olds can wield over a helpless farang like me.

But I’m slowly learning how to manage them…and they are just so so cute outside of class with their little hugs and shrieks of “TEACHER ALEXIS!!!” that it makes up for all the crazy times in the classroom. As I said on my Instagram today, I imagine doing TEFL with adults would be far less adorable.

Teacher Alexis and one of her Thai first graders

One of my first graders (the birthday boy yesterday!)

Then after lunch, I taught two second grade classes in a row. The first lesson ran a little late, which delayed the start of the second class by a few minutes, and when I walked in, one of the sassy girls (who I love) walks right up to me and says, “Teacher. You are five minutes late.”

Dang, called out by a second grader. Ouch.

But she was right and it was hilarious. Also, I was pretty impressed at her abilities to 1) read a clock that well and 2) speak a perfect English sentence!

I spent the last hour of school trying to figure out lesson plans for next week and it’s getting so difficult! I still rely on my standard phonics resources, but I’m learning they’re not one-size-fits-all resources. Some kids are way more advanced and just bored out of their minds, while other kids think they know the material and subsequently zone out/play during class, and still others still barely know their letter sounds.

So that’s my current challenge: figuring out how to teach 32 kids at wildly varying levels (I know all you seasoned teachers out there are like, tell me something I don’t know).

After school, I met up with David for dinner at the new Salad Concept location in Chiang Mai, near the north east side of the old city. It is soooo good. I’ve been dying for something grilled (not fried) with fresh (not fried) vegetables, and this just hit the spot.

I’m at the end of my rope with the never ending cycle of greasy fried meat and carbs for dinner, so having a salad tonight was perfection.

From there, we tried to buy a tiny little Christmas tree from this nameless corner shop a friend told us about. I would’ve sworn she said she got hers for 250 baht ($7.50 USD), but when we went, the lady working there wanted 350 for the teeniest tiniest tree! What am I, a millionaire?? I even tried speaking to her in the little Thai I know (a tactic that usually loosens people up), but she wouldn’t budge.

So we left empty handed. Boo.

However, I did craft together some paper stockings the other day in an effort to put something Christmas-y up in our apartment, and I must say — they turned out pretty cute for costing a grand total of $0 (thank goodness for being an elementary school teacher with access to craft supplies). So our apartment isn’t totally bare of holiday decorations, but ya know, in case anyone out there is under the impression that expats on teacher salaries live glamorous lives (haha), let this be proof that no, no we do not…

DIY paper Christmas stockings

Fun? Sad? A little of both?

On our walk home from dinner (we still have not bit the bullet and bought a motorbike yet…so walking it is), we wandered by a pretty Buddhist temple that we had somehow never noticed before even though we’ve walked down that street a thousand times.

It’s called Wat Chiang Man, and it just may be my favorite temple I’ve seen in Thailand so far.

David pointed out that it’s uniquely pretty because it doesn’t have the showy, primary colors that some Thai temples do. It’s just a mixture of muted blues and reds, gorgeous gold, and weather worn rock. We love it.

Wat Chiang Man, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Chiang Man in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Chiang Man, Chiang Mai, Thailand

So I’m focusing on the positive things today, like how cute my kids can be and the beautiful temples around me that I sort of take for granted. And also, it’s Friday! That’s always a good thing.

I’m not sure what we’re doing this weekend yet, but judging by the fact that I’m already in bed on a Friday night, I’d guess we’ll be laying low, hanging around the apartment and a few of our favorite coffee shops. If I’m feeling really energetic maybe I’ll pull out my nice camera and do a day of photography since I’ve realized I haven’t really done that in our neighborhood yet. We’ll see how ambitious I’m feeling.

Hope everyone out there has a great weekend! 🙂

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